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Virtual War and the Nazi Zombie Gothic in Call of Duty
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. (LNUC Concurrences in Postcolonial Studies)
2016 (English)In: War Gothic in Literature and Culture / [ed] Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet and Steffen Hantke, Oxon: Routledge, 2016, 176-191 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The Call of Duty series is one of the most successful entertainment franchises of the twenty-first century. Among its many instalments is the trilogy Call of Duty: World at War (2008), Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010), and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2013). These three games combine intense action elements with specific political content that rehearses established orthodoxies on WWII but also comments on the Cold War and on the more recent War on Terror. Interestingly, all three games also come with a ‘zombie mode’ where the gamer uses the same military hardware to fight the undead on a series of different maps. The conflation of gothic and military content is not new to the First Person Shooter genre that Call of Duty belongs to. The amalgamation of war and gothic was at the heart of the foundation of the First Person Shooter with games such as ID Software’s Wolfenstein 3D (1992) and Doom (1993). Thus, the Zombie mode returns the First Person Shooter to its military/gothic origins, but it also modifies these origins.

 

This essay first briefly surveys the development and transformation of the military FPS game, to then discuss the revisionary WW2 narrative that emerges in the US at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries. Following this, the essay explores the rise of the zombie in American popular culture and the appearance of the Nazi Zombie in the late 1970s. The essay finally maps both the hyperreal geography of WW2 and the gothic territory that the game conflates. As the essay argues, the Zombie Mode testifies to a deeply rooted, post-millennium desire also exhibited by the War on Terror to enforce the borders that separate self from other, civilized from primitive, West from East. At the same time, the Zombie mode is informed by a very gothic tendency to understand such borders as porous or even as a source of terror.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxon: Routledge, 2016. 176-191 p.
Keyword [en]
Gothic Studies, Game Studies, Zombies, World War 2, Nazism in Culture
National Category
Cultural Studies
Research subject
Humanities, Film Studies; Humanities, English literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-48248ISBN: 9781138938212 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-48248DiVA: diva2:877780
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-12-07 Created: 2015-12-07 Last updated: 2016-02-01Bibliographically approved

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https://www.routledge.com/products/9781138938212

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Citation style
  • apa
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